10 January 1998

In a few moments, Mr. Halupka will officially induct John as the thirteenth Eagle Scout in Troop 93 since we founded the Troop eleven years ago. I think that many of them have been able to arrange their work, travel, and college schedules to get here for today’s ceremony. Will you please join us here?

It has been a thrill and an honor to have participated in the growth of each of those boys and their absent brothers. They have ranged from the tall to the short, from the young to the just-made-it-by-their-eighteenth-birthday, from the slight and now to the really massive. They are future engineers and doctors, businessmen and preachers, and a disk jockey thrown in for good measure. They each had smooth spots and rough spots along their trail to Eagle, and their trail of life. But they accepted the challenge of becoming Eagle Scouts and persevered. In accepting the Eagle badge, they also accepted a responsibility for our country’s future.

In accepting that responsibility, they also joined all Eagle Scouts, since Arthur Eldred received the first Eagle badge in 1912 – famous men such as Gerald Ford and Neil Armstrong, but also otherwise unknown men who build houses and pump gas – but all with a common bond of having accepted the challenge of being Eagle Scouts for the rest of their lives.

To represent them, I invite all Eagle Scouts, both in and out of uniform, to join us at the front of the sanctuary to welcome John into their brotherhood.

John, my task on this occasion is to find a way to challenge you to build on your experience in becoming an Eagle Scout. That’s not an easy thing to do, since you have proven so adept at challenging yourself. You wanted to set a school record in the discus, and ended up becoming state champion. You wanted to experience the Grand Canyon, and ended up hiking from rim to rim three times. When you became a Scout you challenged yourself to make Eagle. You have met every challenge you have set for yourself in sports, Scouts, academics, and church.

You have shown that you can discipline yourself by setting personal goals and exceeding them. Now demonstrate the magical multiplying effect of leadership. As an individual you can move some azalea bushes from one side of the church to the other — as a leader you can get a whole church built. As an individual you can study history or science or mathematics — as a leader you can educate an entire generation. As an individual you can explore a desert canyon — as a leader you can preserve that canyon for posterity. As an individual you can light a candle to worship God — as a leader you can illuminate the world with His Gospel.

Your duty as a Scout is to continue to live your life according to the Scout Oath and Law. Your duty as an Eagle is to be a living example of the principles of that Oath and Law. My challenge to you is to go beyond your personal example by using your personality, your character, and your leadership to influence others to live according to your example.

If you accept that challenge, please rededicate yourself by repeating the Scout Oath.

On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country; to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Congratulations. This challenge is almost complete, but there are many more exciting and wonderful challenges just beginning.


Chuck May, 1998

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